Inside a St. Paul church, five vocalists stood at the sanctuary’s front and, with rich voices and raised hands, sang the South African national anthem. Their national anthem. “In our country, people were jailed and crucified for singing this song in public,” Brendon Adams told the crowd, explaining how “Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika,” or “God Bless Africa,” served as an act of protest during apartheid. After, the old hymn became a part of the new national anthem and a symbol of reconciliation. Adams, 44, and his South African gospel group 29:11 have sung this song — and told this story — week after week, in church after church. On this Sunday, three months after many of the group’s musicians arrived in Minnesota, their voices and instruments filled the historic, gothic Hamline Church United Methodist in St. Paul. But they’ve performed in Catholic and Baptist sanctuaries, too. They’ve sung at colleges and elementary schools. In living rooms and backyards. One afternoon, they performed for Christian motorcyclists in the back room of a Pizza Ranch. Their biggest stage comes this weekend, when they’ll sing at Orchestra Hall — over and over again.On Friday, the South Africans will join the Minnesota Chorale and members… Read full this story
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